Instructables
Picture of A leather Ebook case, 21st Century style
Whilst carrying a cup of coffee and a suitcase out of my hotel in Seoul recently, I dropped and smashed the carrying case of my Sony Ebook, much to my dismay. There was no repairing it, so I decided that I needed to make a new leather case myself, and, since I have a laser at work, I set to, and made it with that before I went back to Seoul !

The old case and Ebook were perfectly sized for my favourite leather waistcoat - my coat of many pockets which is SO handy when you travel, so I was keen to copy the size and design at first; but having used the naked, and now very slim book on its own, it seemed a shame to lose that, so this time I made a slip case, which will stay in my pocket permanently, and the book slides in and out

Here's the result:
 
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Step 1: Materials.


Veg tanned leather - the best stuff for this project, as we will be moulding it to shape, this uses a piece about 160mm x 300mm - I used 1.6mm thick, or 1/16" - step 5.


MDF board, same size as Ebook - see step 3 and 7.

Leather working needle and thread. - step 6

...and a laser cutter..... Step 5 !!!

The laser isn't essential, but BOY does it make cutting out easy !


Step 2: In use..

Here's the book and case slipped into my inner jacket pocket. Its great, because it also helps hold my passport and boarding cards ready for easy finding.
Shiny.
matthewbate3 years ago
Nice workmanship, but how can a leather case be 21st century? Most of the environmental organisations on the planet agree that we need to wean ourselves off animal products. That said, a good classic car trimmer would be able to sell you some old Jaguar leather.

The sleeve would be just as nice without dead animal, in fact I have a piece of ultrasuede, which is made of old recycled drinks bottles, just too small to make an iPad case. I might have to add a go-faster stripe...
steveastrouk (author)  matthewbate3 years ago
Thanks.

Dead animal product works better than synthetics and since it is created effectively from a waste product, after the animal is eaten, considerably more environmentally friendly than a plastic. It will also ultimately decay.
Most of the leather substitutes are recycled and recyclable, Mercedes Benz has just put millions into replacing leather in most of their cars. Historically many Benzs have little or no leather in them and now it is just an option. Most recent cars with 'leather upholstery' only have seat facings made from slaughterhouse products, usually with only the lightest skim of leather backed by a stronger textile. The res of the interior is plastic. This is why I mentioned looking for a classic car specialist because in an old car what looks like leather usually is leather.

In economics terms the value of all the component forms of the carcass including skin, bones, hooves and whatever else can be used are all in the business plan of the producer. They don't give the skin away, they sell it. Leather is a product, not a by-product or a waste product. Trust me, there is a LOT of old leather out there that has already weathered, this is why I think leather is a legacy material and we should move on.

Finding a new way of doing things is very much within the Instructables ethos, so I think it's time.
steveastrouk (author)  matthewbate3 years ago
The leather substitutes I've seen don't mould like real leather does, upholstery leather is a whole different material to the veg-tanned I use.

I don't see a synthetic as anyway superior to the natural product here I'm afraid.
The new materials are not really available yet, but will be available in different weights for different applications such as shoes and bags.

Until then, surely some sacrifices can be made for the the sake of ethics and the environment? Would the sleeve be a worse sleeve if it were made from an ethical and environmentally friendly alternative?

I must point-out that it is the '21st Century' part of the description on which I'm commenting.
steveastrouk (author)  matthewbate3 years ago
The 21st century bit is derived from the facts that it is a case for an Ebook, generated in CAD and made by CNC laser cutting.

I am not sure how ethical a synthetic, and likely oil-based approach to a material which is pretty optimal as-is, is bio-derived and bio-degradable really is.
As I mentioned above. The new materials are generally made from the plastic bottles we put into recycling centres.

The material is ethically neutral, it does no harm and no good other than replacing a material taken from an environmentally harmful process, which animal agriculture certainly is.

I understand the 21st century handling methods, I just have a problem with the thought that into a new century we are still using animal products because of a vague consensus on perceived quality which no economist could quantify or from which derive a test.

I had better do some work! I'm reasonably likely to make a sleeve though, I'd better start looking for a bigger off-cut...
So you'll continue to try to dis-suede people from using leather? It'll be a LOT harder to convince people to turn vegetarian, so this leather is better just thrown away instead is it? Because if you dissuade people from using leather, it'll be one of the only parts of the animal that won't be used.

What about culls of herd animals? Deer in the UK are controlled population, without controlling them their populations explode and they cause a nuisance on arabal farmland. You think it is more ethical to just kill them and then what? Burn them? As it is the meat is used, the bones are ground and the hides are tanned.
I'm not sure this is relevant!

Yes, I have answers for you, I've been a researcher on this subject for fifteen years and have effectively answered the issue you mention on a number of occasions.

Steveastrouk and I were discussing the modernity of the material.
I don't understand why you see the use of a waste product, animal skin, as unethical. I would expect that the in curing of hides vs the melting, processing and refining of plastic bottles, the curing of hides would be less energy intensive. And since they're both waste products, surely leather is preferable. Or are there other things to consider, like the chemicals used for curing animal hides?

I'm not trying to troll, just interested. What papers have you written? I'd be interested to have a browse.
It's a waste product AFTER it has been thrown away. As I said above, the skin is a part of the economic package of the carcass and is SOLD to leather producers. Using leather is no different from using meat, both are products.

In terms of energy, look at the various recent UN reports regarding the amount of oil required to raise livestock. Even the UN thinks we have a big problem with livestock production. Given that the UN usually makes such a huge effort not to change anything, to recommend massively scaling back animal agriculture is an astonishing step for them.

http://newstandardnews.net/content/index.cfm/items/3956

You'll find that culling and 'controlling' of wild populations is declining; it doesn't really work.

I'm an ethics researcher, I occasionally post in this way to monitor public opinion and to see if anyone has a new angle; nothing for some time... I haven't published to date but I am hoarding for an upcoming education project. I can recommend stuff. Meat Market by Erik Marcus is a good start, it's the definitive look at the economics of the situation and the work of the Princeton ethicist Peter Singer is where I began my search.

Good luck with that lot!
Do you post anywhere? A blog, tumblr, twitter? I'm studying philosophy and intend to do my masters in bioethics. I'm following Peter Singer's work, I find some interesting points in what you are saying.
It's a waste product AFTER it has been thrown away.

No, it's not. Waste products can also be sold. Animal skin is a waste product of the butchering process which can be turned into leather, a marketable commodity. The very concept of recycling depends on the fact that "waste" doesn't mean "can't be used for anything ever ever again."

>As I said above, the skin is a part of the economic package of the carcass and is SOLD to leather producers. Using leather is no different from using meat, both are products.

People are not going to stop eating meat anytime soon (and you will be hard pressed to convince this forum that meat eating is unethical), so using the skin - a byproduct, or waste product, of the meat production process, which can be sold and consumed - is better than throwing it away.

>I'm an ethics researcher, I occasionally post in this way to monitor public opinion and to see if anyone has a new angle

I can only interpret this two ways:

1. You're looking on the internet to see if by individual posts you can track trends on how the public thinks about ethics. And you...didn't study statistics. And ethics research is a LOT more loosey-goosey than I thought when it comes to method. O_o

2. You're looking on the internet to see if you can find A) genuine ethical insights and/or B) armchair philosophizing. In which case, Bwahahahahaha!


>Given that the UN usually makes such a huge effort not to change anything

Ummmmmmm. *What?*

The UN makes lofty declarations and sets optimistic goals all the time.

Or have you not heard of the UN campaign against FGM, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Millennium Development Goals, proposals for "the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and of all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction," the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, or the ENTIRE UN peacekeeping effort, to name a tiny, tiny sampling?

>You'll find that culling and 'controlling' of wild populations is declining; it doesn't really work.

[citation needed]
All the more reason leather will be more exclusive
Interestingly, I have had a quote that you would not believe to re-trim a Porsche Panamera in the materials discussed here, the materials are twice the price of leather which is a commodity the production of which is supported by governments world-wide.

Leather is cheap.
lizzyastro3 years ago
Although most of the time I love my Sony case with the built in light wedge, there are times when I could use a less bulky version, so I think I'll request another one to be cut for me :-) I would also like to try carving/tooling a design in the leather so we can tell which case is whose. The veg tanned leather should take a design really nicely.

Sewing the case up was pretty easy, we used a heavy duty terylene thread and a couple of big, sharp needles. I started sewing at the top (open) edge of the case so that if the sewing should start to unravel it would be at the closed bottom end where there is less chance of the seam pulling apart.
CrLz3 years ago
Very elegant!
iceng3 years ago
Very neat work, I like how easily you solved the bottom U bend.
I have used a rotary hand punch with equestrian heavy leather,
ergo my curiosity.  Did you have the laser cut the stitch holes too ?
steveastrouk (author)  iceng3 years ago
That's what all the little holes in the edge are for.....

I'd perhaps try and just make / in the leather next time instead of o

Steve
Sorry, the pics probably aren't as big as your real files.
It just hard to accept 160 individual holes align 80 at a time.
steveastrouk (author)  iceng3 years ago
He he. They really do. The work it saves is phenomenal.
mikeasaurus3 years ago
looking good, and the leather will look awesome as it gets broken in.
Tidy... very nice!
splazem3 years ago
Wow, great job!
Ninzerbean3 years ago
Wow!